A piece on the subject of plastic pollution and its presence of interaction within our world. The extent of its touch is beyond anything we as a human race have so far experienced. Like a work of Frankenstein, it has determined a life of its own and interacts beyond our grasp of control. We have created substances that have stepped beyond us and no longer need our intervention to have methods of definition within the world.
This crushing reality must not be a cause for apathy. It should serve as a call to action. The world we live in is too intricate and beautiful to allow such measures of carelessness to take way into full and devastating measures of destructive control. The planet is too good, too unique, and we have no right to discard it as we have so far done with the substances that pollute so the surface, air and waters on this wonderful rock each being can make their home. Awareness is key.
Awareness toward the loss of humankind's authority over the planet in tandem with our simultaneous dependance on a healthy and well functioning environment. We are part of our environment, completely inseparable from its flux and its flow. What we make becomes entwined with our lives and eventually integrates into our bodies. There is no separation.
"The overwhelming amount and mass of marine plastic debris is beyond visual, made of microscopic range fragmented plastic debris that cannot be just scooped out of the ocean. Slow, silent, omnipresent, ever increasing, more toxic than previously thought, the plastic pollution’s reality bears sobering consequences."
- Claire Le Guern Lytle, When Mermaids Cry: the Great Plastic Tide
The choice leading to scoring this work for wind symphony with a solo violinist was the result of an extended analysis in form and expectation. It began with a re-reading of Aristotle's Poetics and concluded sitting on a beach for a number of days. Initially when we look at the soloist onstage in front of a mass of brass, wood winds and percussion, we think - “you will be lost”.
This part is scored to sit atop its surrounding sound sources and reflect the upper partials of each motivic figure, composed as though for an organ. The wind symphony, becoming a live mass of breathing organ pipes, performs an architectural role with the string soloist defining each contour of phrase.
The concept behind this choice was to redesign the instrumental body of the wind symphony in ways that are reflective of our own resemblances to nature. It was important for the ensemble to breathe within specific parameters and the wind symphony was the right medium for this. The violin, as a soloist, can occupy a space of punctuation and simultaneous melancholic nostalgia.
We have reached a point of no return in many aspects our modern uses and interactions with substances. We cannot simply relinquish and forget about objects as we have done for millennia. We are addicted to them in new ways and unlike before, they do not disappear with blind sight. Everything moves in cycles in strange and unanticipated ways. My construction of the wind symphony medium is a reflection of this idea.
Symphony d'aere premiered with thanks to the SCM Wind Symphony on the 26th October 2017 featuring solo violinist Annabelle Swainston and conducted by John P. Lynch. It is the second piece in a series of symphonic poetry.